A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 101 "How are you?" he inquired. "Let me feel your pulse." He looked inquisitively at Meresyev, shook his head and muttered: "M'yes. A strong character!" And then to Meresyev he said: "Your friends tell things about your adventures that are simply incredible, something like a Jack London story." He dropped into his seat, made himself more com- fortable, at once grew limp and dozed off. It was evident that this pale-faced man, no longer young, was dead tired. "Something like a Jack London story,'* thought Meresyev and remote recollections of his boyhood came to his mind, the story of a man with frozen legs crawling through the desert followed by a sick and hungry wolf. Lulled by the steady drone of the engines, everything began to float, to lose its outline, to dissolve in the grey gloom, and the last strange thought that passed through Alexei's mind as he fell asleep was that there was no war, no bombing, no continuous, torturous, gnawing pain in the feet, no aircraft speeding towards Moscow, that all this was something from a wonderful book that he had read in his boyhood in the remote town of Kamyshin.